Perhaps you’ve heard the name Elon Musk. He’s got quite a résumé. Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company. His company builds rockets that send people and cargo into space. Musk is realizing his vision at SpaceX by building simple and relatively inexpensive reusable rockets that go into space multiple times. He hopes to achieve turnaround time capabilities that are similar to commercial airliners.
Oh, by the way, Musk is also the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and cofounder of PayPal.
I tell you this because of how Elon Musk views the importance of hiring great talent. Musk’s recruiting strategy at SpaceX is to demand the best person on the planet — whether they were there to build a rocket or serve ice cream on campus.
Dolly Singh, SpaceX’s former Director of Talent quoted Musk as saying, “Find me the single best person on the freaking planet, then convince me why out of how many billion people on the planet that this is that guy.” Singh continued, “And he does that even if it’s the cook. When we built a yogurt booth inside of SpaceX, he said, ‘Go to Pinkberry and find me the employee of the month, and I want to hire the employee of the month.’”
The point is, Musk as one of the most innovative and successful business leaders in the world, is still laser-focused on hiring great talent. He understands that bringing in mediocre talent will likely prevent him from realizing his dreams.
The late Steve Jobs, cofounder, CEO and Chairman of Apple Inc. believed in hiring A players. According to Jobs, “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” A-players are motivated, engaged and creative. They are performance-driven and have high expectations for themselves and for others. B and C-players, on the other hand, often do just enough to get by and to be paid for it.
We can learn a valuable lesson from Musk, and Jobs…Settling for ‘so-so’ talent will likely get you ‘so-so’ results. So the next time you are looking to hire someone, think like a rocket scientist and hire only the best.
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Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team. He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.